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Oliver Stone's biographical take on the life of George W. Bush, one of the most controversial presidents in USA history, chronicling from his wild and carefree days in college, to his military service, to his governorship of Texas and role in the oil business, his 2000 candidacy for president, his first turbulent four years, and his 2004 re-election campaign. Written by
One of three Oliver Stone-directed films [to date, November 2016] about an American President which has a title referencing the name of the American president who is the subject of the movie. The first was JFK (1991), JFK being an acronym for assassinated American President John F. Kennedy; the second was Nixon (1995), which is the surname or last name of American President Richard Nixon; and the third was W. (2008), a letter nick-name referencing American President George W. Bush. See more »
At Bush's 40th birthday party, when the cake is finally rolled out, the candle on the right is not lit. When it cuts (almost instantly) to the wait staff putting the cake on the table, it is lit. See more »
W. Movie Review (a review originally written for college)
'W.', Oliver Stone's latest true story film, is a simple biopic of America's 43rd President George W. Bush, touching on certain aspects of his life, including his college life, his alcoholism and his relationship with his father, the 41st president George Bush, while revolving mainly around his first term in the white house, specifically his controversial 'war on terror' and search for WMDs in Iraq. Like any biopic, there are two ways for it to be viewed. The first is how the feature stands as a film on its own, regardless of its comparison to the source material. Obviously the other way of perceiving it is to compare it to the source material, considering it's about something real and about real people who are alive or have lived. Unfortunately 'W.' is a movie that isn't particularly strong with either of these angles in mind.
The film's light and sweet perspective, which portrays George W. Bush as a smart and well meaning guy, with flaws like the rest of us, doesn't balance with the fact that many of the scenes drone on. This is significant especially for audience members with no particular political expertise, which arguably this film should appeal to. Its father and son story has no real interesting conflict either, except for early on which isn't a good place to have focus, since we're meant to be kept sitting around for the duration of the 2 hours, of which this film runs. The structure of the film is confusing and the ending itself falls flat, leaving a hole that the audience may not be able to fill themselves, seemingly trying to make tough point about whatever issues the film is attempting to cover.
In terms of comparing the film to the real subjects of which it is based on, 'W.' has even less to show for itself as the film focuses on the less interesting, or more widely known, pieces of just Bush's first term, and almost completely avoids the interesting material. Examples of said material would be the controversial speculation around the legitimacy of his position as president, the even more questionable aspects of Bush's behaviour around the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the film even makes absolutely no mention of Hurricane Katrina.
The performances in this film are the only real things it has to brag about as Josh Brolin carries the film quite nicely with his charming and quirky take on Bush, along with Richard Dreyfuss' Dick Cheney, Thandie Newton's Condoleezza Rice, and others. However these still feel like impressions, granted they are rather good impressions. Another problem with the film's performances is James Cromwell's portrayal of George Bush Sr., as he is shown as a sweet, hard working old man, with no similarities shown in the real George Bush Sr.'s speech or mannerisms, which, I guess, was necessary to make the character likable.
Overall, 'W.' is reasonably entertaining with its imitations of the American president and the people surrounding him in his career, however the viewers shouldn't delude themselves into thinking it as a reliable source of historical or political information as it covers any subject it has chosen to include, very lightly giving very little for it to say, despite the fact that there would be many things for this film to include, considering its protagonist's history. The only real conceivable, politically taut, reason for why this film was even released before the end of Bush's time as president is that, to avoid anyone else making a biopic of Bush, in case they might have had the kind of daft, one sided sense to portray George W. Bush as a hero, and his enemies as scum, Oliver Stone jumped at making the film in an act that sort of resembles suppressing an explosion.
Verdict: Stone's telling of George W. Bush's life is long but thin, however it doesn't have any huge bias leaving it as an empty and boring chronicle with little harm.
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